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Welcome to the Mayim & Ken Show... At Least for the Rest of 2021
Two Hosts to Share Podium While Search Continues Behind the Scenes
From TV Line

Mayim Bialik‘s time behind the Jeopardy! podium has been extended: She and Jeopardy! GOAT contestant Ken Jennings have been tapped to host the quiz show through the end of 2021 as the search for a permanent emcee continues.

Bialik was already set to host Jeopardy! for three upcoming weeks, beginning today, Sept. 20. Per Sony Pictures Television, her stint will now continue through Nov. 5, at which point she and Jennings will trade off hosting duties as their schedules allow through the end of the calendar year.

The duo will temporarily replace former Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, who was initially tapped in August to permanently succeed Alex Trebek as host of the series. Just days later, though, Richards stepped down from that role after misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic jokes he’d told on a podcast in the mid-2010s resurfaced online. Richards was retained as an EP on the show at first, then was ultimately fired from that position in late August.

“I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel [of Fortune] and Jeopardy! effective immediately,” Sony Pictures Television exec Suzanne Prete told staff in a memo at the time. “We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened.”

Despite vacating the host job quickly, Richards did tape five Jeopardy! episodes as Trebek’s permanent replacement, which are airing this week to kick off the trivia competition’s 38th season.

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posted 9/20/2021


RuPaul Makes History
Emmy Win Makes "Drag Race" Host/Creator Most Decorated BIPOC Entertainer
From Deadline

Show more sharing options RuPaul has made Emmys history, again, shattering the record for the most Emmys won by a person of color as Drag Race nabs the Outstanding Competition Series honor for the fourth consecutive year.

Upon receiving the history-making honor from Allyson Felix and Jessica Long, the legendary Drag Race host dedicated his win to the LGBTQ community and queer youth.

“Really thanks to all of our lovely children on our show from all around the world. They’re so gracious to tell their stories of courage how to navigate this difficult life that’s more difficult today,” he said. “For you kids watching, you have a tribe that is waiting for you.”

He continued: “We are waiting for you, baby. Come on to Mama Ru.”

At the 73rd annual Emmy Awards on Sunday, RuPaul surpassed Something the Lord Made and Out of the Ashes cinematographer Donald A. Morgan, who previously held the record with five honors. Last week at the Creative Arts Emmys, RuPaul took home his sixth straight Emmy win for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.

The now Emmy-winning Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race was a season like none other as the latest group of fierce queens vied for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Drag Race crowned Los Angeles queen Symone the winner. Additional finalists were Gottmik, Kandy Muse and Rosé.

Drag Race bested Netflix’s Nailed It!, Bravo’s Top Chef, CBS’ The Amazing Race and NBC’s The Voice. RuPaul’s Drag Race has tallied a total of 24 Primetime Emmy Awards.

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posted 9/20/2021

SUNDAY: The Best of the Rest
CBS Wins with Emmys
From TV Line

Viewership for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards rose 16 percent from last year’s comparable numbers, drawing 7.4 million total viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen time adjusted fast affiliate ratings.

Last year’s virtual Emmy ceremony, which was hosted for ABC by Jimmy Kimmel (and aired opposite both Sunday Night Football and the NBA Finals), delivered 6.4 million viewers (an all-time low in audience) and a 1.3 demo rating, per Nielsen finals.

Opposite the Emmys:
- NBC | Sunday Night Football drew 16.1 million viewers, up 10 percent from last week’s prelim numbers, and a 4.8 rating.
- FOX | With its season finale, Fantasy Island (1.6 mil/0.3) was up from its previous Tuesday airing, yet down week-to-week.
- ABC | Celeb Family Feud (4 mil/0.5) was steady, while The Chase (3.1 mil/0.3) and To Tell the Truth (2.3 mil/0.2) both slipped.

TV Line

posted 9/20/2021

Survivors Ready!
Meet the 18 Season 41 Contestants!
From the Futon Critic

We'll see a lot of big changes in the new season of Survivor (which premieres Sept. 22 on CBS). For one thing, the game will be only 26 days long as opposed to 39. Viewers can also partake in a separate game within a game at home. And, thanks to Mike White, some sort of monster will be on the loose. But there is one other big change for season 41 of the show. It is being called Survivor 41. That marks the first time a Survivor season number has been in its title. What's with the change?

We asked Jeff Probst. "As you know from our talks during Winners at War, we always envisioned our 40th season as the end of an era of Survivor," the show's host says.

And the new era meant a new approach towards titling the seasons. "From a game standpoint, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get away from seasons that were built around a casting theme or a major twist," says Probst. "That led to an easy decision to also do away with titles and just go with numbers for each season."

The series is also available to stream live and on demand on the CBS app and Paramount+.

As TV's preeminent reality series for 20 years, SURVIVOR 41 begins a bold new era this fall with the introduction of exciting fresh elements to the competition, which promise to intensify the battle for $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor. As the thrilling competition begins on the beautiful islands of Fiji, 18 determined castaways will be divided into three tribes of six to face a faster, more intense and more dangerous season than ever before. The unpredictable, accelerated pace will test even the strongest super-fan, as supplies are minimal, reward challenges are scarce, and players find themselves faced with advantages that could significantly help their game or, just as easily, extinguish their torch.

"I cannot remember a time when I've been this excited to launch a new season of SURVIVOR," said executive producer and host Jeff Probst. "SURVIVOR 41 features a really likable group of savvy SURVIVOR players, and they are in for the most intense, most difficult and most dangerous season we've ever done. We know we have the most loyal fans of any show on television, and we are pumped to bring them a new, exciting season of SURVIVOR!"

For the first time, host Jeff Probst will also take viewers inside the action, addressing the audience directly throughout the season, even letting fans in on some twists before the players are made aware. In addition, junior fans can test their own SURVIVOR skills by playing the new "Game within the Game." Each week, they'll have to spot a hidden rebus puzzle within the episode and then solve it.

The individuals competing on season 41 are from diverse backgrounds with the same ultimate goal: to outwit, outplay and outlast, and in the end only one will remain to claim the title of Sole Survivor.
- Name: Brad Reese Age: 50 Hometown: Shawnee, Wyo. Current Residence: Shawnee, Wyo. Occupation: Rancher
- Name: Danny McCray Age: 33 Hometown: Houston, Texas Current Residence: Frisco, Texas Occupation: Ex-NFL player
- Name: David Voce Age: 35 Hometown: Highland, Calif. Current Residence: Chicago, Ill. Occupation: Neurosurgeon
- Name: Deshawn Radden Age: 26 Hometown: San Bernardino, Calif. Current Residence: Miami, Fla. Occupation: Medical student
- Name: Eric Abraham Age: 51 Hometown: Atlanta, Ga. Current Residence: San Antonio, Texas Occupation: Cyber security analyst
- Name: Erika Casupanan Age: 32 Hometown: Niagara Falls, Ont. Current Residence: Toronto, Ont. Occupation: Communications manager
- Name: Evvie Jagoda Age: 28 Hometown: Westchester, N.Y. Current Residence: Arlington, Mass. Occupation: PhD student
- Name: Genie Chen Age: 46 Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. Current Residence: Portland, Ore. Occupation: Grocery clerk
- Name: Heather Aldret Age: 52 Hometown: Charleston, S.C. Current Residence: Charleston, S.C. Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
- Name: Jairus Robinson Age: 20 Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla. Current Residence: Oklahoma City, Okla. Occupation: College student
- Name: Liana Wallace Age: 20 Hometown: Evanston, Ill. Current Residence: Washington, D.C. Occupation: College student
- Name: Naseer Muttalif Age: 37 Hometown: Sri Lanka Current Residence: Morgan Hill, Calif. Occupation: Sales manager
- Name: Ricard Foyé Age: 31 Hometown: Lynnwood, Wash. Current Residence: Sedro-Woolley, Wash. Occupation: Flight attendant
- Name: Sara Wilson Age: 24 Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif. Current Residence: Boston, Mass. Occupation: Healthcare consultant
- Name: Shantel Smith Age: 34 Hometown: Toronto, Canada Current Residence: Washington, D.C. Occupation: Pastor
- Name: Sydney Segal Age: 26 Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. Current Residence: Brooklyn, N.Y. Occupation: Law student
- Name: Tiffany Seely Age: 47 Hometown: Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y. Current Residence: Plainview, N.Y. Occupation: Teacher
- Name: Xander Hastings Age: 21 Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla. Current Residence: Chicago, Ill. Occupation: App developer

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posted 9/20/2021

THURSDAY: Godspeed, Nine-Nine
CBS Wins with "Big Brother"
From Deadline

NBC bid farewell to its Brooklyn Nine-Nine crew as the Andy Samberg-led comedy aired its final episode Thursday. The series finale rose in its final episode, earning a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo and 2.17 million viewers, per Nielsen fast affiliates.

The series finale, titled “The Last Day,” grew from the Season 8 premiere in August (0.4, 1.84M). Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which also features Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Joe Lo Truglio and more, saw the gang come together for one last heist and an emotional farewell to the titular precinct.

As full the finale was of optimistic goodbyes and callbacks to earlier episodes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine came in second overall to Big Brother on CBS, which ruled Thursday’s primetime in all fields. The latest episode (0.9, 3.77M) of the reality series was the highest-rated and most-watched title of the evening.

For ABC, Holey Moley (0.3, 2.34M) was followed by The Hustler (0.2, 1.53M) and When Nature Calls with Helen Mirren (0.2, 1.26M).


posted 9/17/2021

The Re-Activist?
CBS to Recut Competition Series into Documentary
From Deadline

“The Activist,” a CBS series that had itself become the target of online activism in recent days, is being reconfigured in response to the firestorm of criticism, and will now become a one-time documentary special instead of a five-episode competition series.

Although footage for the original incarnation of the series had already been shot, this version of “The Activist” will be entirely new, with filming expected to begin from scratch.

The show, originally set to premiere as a series on Oct. 22, had faced serious heat since Usher, Julianne Hough and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were announced as hosts late last week. Social media users, bloggers and opinion writers had laid into the competitive nature of a show meant to celebrate and encourage activism, among other concerns.

In a joint statement, CBS and producing partners Global Citizen and Live Nation announced the format switch, saying: “‘The Activist’ was designed to show a wide audience the passion, long hours, and ingenuity that activists put into changing the world, hopefully inspiring others to do the same. However, it has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day. The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.

“As a result, we are changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a primetime documentary special (air date to be announced),” the CBS/Global Citizen/Live Nation statement continues. “It will showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in. Each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organization of their choice, as was planned for the original show.”

The joint statement concludes by saying: “Activists and community leaders around the world work every day, often without fanfare, to advance protections for people, communities, and our planet. We hope that by showcasing their work we will inspire more people to become more involved in addressing the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to highlighting the mission and lives of each of these incredible people.”

Global Citizen released its own separate statement that included an apology. “Global activism centers on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologize to the activists, hosts, and the larger activist community — we got it wrong,” the philanthropic org said. “It is our responsibility to use this platform in the most effective way to realize change and elevate the incredible activists dedicating their lives to progress all around the world."

Priyanka Chopra-Jonas has apologized for the original premise of CBS’ “The Activist” one day after the network decided to retool the competition series into a documentary following backlash to the original idea.

“I have been moved by the power of your voices over the past week,” Chopra, who was announced as co-host/judge of the show alongside Usher and Julianne Hough last week, said in a statement posted to Instagram on Thursday. “At its core, Activism is (fueled) by cause and effect, and when people come together to raise their voice about something, there is always an effect. You were heard. The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you.”

She continued: “The intention was always to bring attention to the people behind the ideas and highlight the actions and impact of the causes they support tirelessly. I’m happy to know that in this new format, their stories will be the highlight, and I’m proud to collaborate with partners who have their ear to the ground and know when it’s time to hit pause and re-evaluate.”

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posted 9/17/2021

Happy Friday Lightning Round
... or "Still Looming"

  • Yep... IATSE getting ready to strike (Deadline)

  • LeVar Burton no longer actively seeking the podium, or to put it best... "We good". (NextTV)

  • Tom Bergeron hints as his new project... it's a game show (Heavy)

  • A FEW GOOD MINUTES with Claire McNear on where Jeopardy! goes from here (Esquire)

posted 9/17/2021

Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Helen Mirren is Spellbound
Legendary Actress to Host "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses"
From Winter Is Coming

Think you know everything about Harry Potter? Now you’ll get to prove it with a new Harry Potter game show!

Today, WarnerMedia revealed Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses, hosted by none other than the fabulous Dame Helen Mirren. The legendary actress was not, unfortunately, among the many great stars who have appeared in the Harry Potter movies, but she did express her gratitude for finally becoming a part of the Wizarding World.

"I knew someday I’d get a Harry Potter role, and I’m so pleased to take part in the 20-year film celebration. The films inspired such enchantment and wonder for so many of us, and it will be such a treat to reignite that magic for the countless fans who continue to revel in this spellbinding world."

Hogwarts Tournament of Houses will be a four-part special that will put several Wizarding World fans to the test with “hundreds” of trivia questions. The winner of the competition will be named the House Cup champion.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses is set to premiere later this year, roughly 20 years after the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone into theaters. The competition will premiere simultaneously on Cartoon Network and TBS, and it will later release on HBO Max. Filming will begin later this month..

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posted 9/16/2021

WEDNESDAY: And Finally...
NBC's Got Talent Beats Everyone
From Deadline

Show more sharing options Big Brother Big Brother America’s Got Talent and Big Brother ruled a finale-filled Wednesday, winning the top viewership and ratings spot, respectively.

On the tails of its Tuesday-topping performance, the Season 16 finale of America’s Got Talent drew in a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demo and 6.13 million viewers, per fast affiliates.

The Season 16 finale dropped three tenths in demo rating but rose 16% in viewership from its premiere in June (1.0, 7.37M).

CBS’ Big Brother (0.8, 3.94M) shared the Wednesday Primetime throne, marking the highest-rated title of the evening. Big Brother was the peak of CBS’ primetime lineup.

Other notable finales were those for ABC’s. Press Your Luck (0.5, 3.56M) and MasterChef (0.5, 2.39M) on Fox, starting in the 8 p.m. hour. Down just slightly from its June premiere (0.6, 2.4M) saw the MasterChef Season 11 finale.

TV Line

posted 9/16/2021

Meet "The Bachelor"... Before Michelle Does?
Report: An Upcoming Suitor to Be Given a Season
From Variety

The next star of “The Bachelor” will be an unfamiliar face — but not for long.

Variety reports that ABC’s new leading man for Season 26 of the hit dating show is Clayton Echard, though ABC and Warner Bros. TV declined to comment for this story.

If Echard’s name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because Bachelor Nation hasn’t met him yet. Echard will be introduced to America as a suitor on the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette,” which premieres on Oct. 19, and will star fan-favorite Michelle Young.

“The Bachelor” typically premieres in January, just after the new year, but insiders say that production is starting this month.

On Wednesday, photos that leaked of Echard with a camera crew were published by E! News in a speculative piece, questioning whether he would be the new “Bachelor.”

Multiple sources tell Variety that Echard is indeed ABC’s pick, but he won’t officially be announced as “The Bachelor” anytime soon — after all, Young’s season of “The Bachelorette” hasn’t even aired yet.


posted 9/16/2021

More on "Canada's Drag Race" SEason 2
Catch It on WOW Presents Plus October 4
From EW

Step your poutine up! Canada's Drag Race season 2 cast of queens is here.

Just over a year after Priyanka became the RuPaul's Drag Race spin-off's first winner, the World of Wonder-produced show unveiled on Tuesday the 12 contestants who will compete for their own sizzling slice of Canadian bacon in the form of a crown and a $100,000 cash prize.

The season 2 panel is presided over by returning judge Brooke Lynn Hytes, with actress Amanda Brugel and style superstar Brad Goreski joining in place of season 1's Stacey McKenzie, who couldn't film new episodes because of COVID travel restrictions, and Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman, who exited the series to film Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. Traci Melchor was also upgraded to permanent judge status for season 2 after appearing throughout season 1 as a "Squirrel Friend" advisor to the queens.

Canada's Drag Race season 2 premieres Oct. 14 on WOW Presents Plus in the United States and on Crave in Canada. See the new cast of queens below.


posted 9/16/2021

FREDDIE COMBS: 1971-2021
Pastor an "X Factor" Contestant
From TV Line

Freddie Combs, a minister who gained notoriety for competing in the second season of Fox’s The X Factor, died on Friday, Sept. 10 at the age of 49.

Combs famously received four yeses from the show’s judges for his audition, an incredible rendition of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which he dedicated to his wife Katrina.

According to Combs’ public obituary, he died after battling a “brief illness,” while TMZ reports kidney failure as his official cause of death.

“Freddie is survived by his wife, Katrina (Kay) Combs, parents Leslie & Nancy Rife, sisters Carrie Rife, Kristina (Andrew) Boggs and nephew Colin Boggs,” the obituary reads. “Freddie spent most of his life in ministry preaching the gospel and singing praises to his Lord Jesus Christ. He has touched countless lives and their ministry will continue to do so.”

In addition to the three episodes of The X Factor on which Combs appeared, he and his wife were featured in a 2010 TLC special called Ton of Love, which documented his weight-loss struggle.".

TV Line
Funeral Solutions

posted 9/16/2021

Thursday Lightning Round
... or "Looming"

  • Is IATSE getting ready to strike (Deadline)

  • Quibi settles suit over Israeli tech (NextTV)

  • Arie Luyendyk ready for the snip (Reality TV World)

  • HONEST QUESTION: where does "Pointless" get its answers from? (Metro)

  • CASTING COUCH: Family Feud heads to Tallahassee (Tallahassee Democrat)

posted 9/16/2021


More on "Tough as Nails" Season 3
Catch It on CBS October 6
From the Futon Critic

TOUGH AS NAILS, the reality series that celebrates everyday Americans who get their hands dirty while working long, hard hours to keep the country running, returns with 12 new competitors ready to test their strength, endurance, life skills and mental toughness, on the third season premiere, Wednesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. The cast includes a fire captain, crop duster, lineman, and ironworker, among others. Phil Keoghan is the creator, host and showrunner.

These competitors who are the best of the best in their chosen trades and come from different walks of life, but all roll up their sleeves every day to make an honest day's living, will kick off the third season from Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in Southern California, when season one's winner, Marine veteran Kelly "Murph" Murphy, returns to lead the crews through a series of military-style challenges. Throughout the season, crews will have to complete their jobs at other renowned locations, including Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in Los Angeles, the U.S. Coast Guard in San Pedro, and the Irwindale Speedway, a motorsports facility, leading to one competitor being crowned the champion and winning the coveted TOUGH AS NAILS belt. However, anyone who "punches out" of the individual competition can still win additional cash prizes in the team competitions that continue throughout the season.

"It is a privilege that we are now in season three of TOUGH AS NAILS and can continue to honor America's hardest-working people, the essential workers who have helped us get through a really challenging time," said Phil Keoghan, host and executive producer. "It feels good that this is a show for the people and about the people that we should all acknowledge and celebrate. While there is only one TOUGH AS NAILS champion in the individual competition, I think what viewers are really gravitating towards, and what makes this show special, is the team competition and the legacy that is being built with Savage Crew and Dirty Hands. At a time when there is so much division in the world, it's good to see a group of people from all walks of life, who have never met each other before, unite and work together for a common goal."

The Futon Critic
TV Insider

posted 9/15/2021

Time for a Re-"Toon" with Jerry Trainor
Nick Locks in Season 2 of "Tooned In" September 17
From the Futon Critic

Nickelodeon's ultimate cartoon trivia showdown, Tooned In, returns for season two with Jerry Trainor (iCarly) co-hosting alongside the animated A.I. supercomputer, Nicky (voiced by Rama Vallury, Baby Shark's Big Show!). The epic gameshow puts contestants to the test to prove their animation knowledge, with three kids competing in rounds of trivia for a chance to be declared the episode's big winner. Season two of Tooned In premieres Friday, Sept. 17, at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

In Tooned In, Trainor and an animated A.I. robot, Nicky, co-host a messy and slime-filled gameshow where kid contestants must compete in a battle of Nickelodeon cartoon knowledge for the chance to be named the night's big winner and take home a cash prize of up to $1,000. Each episode features three kids who are tasked with solving animation questions across rounds of trivia until only one contestant is left in the competition. The final kid will then move on to a special round where they must compete against Nicky and climb the robot's motherboard to be declared the episode's winner.

Tooned In is executive produced by Jack Martin (The Misery Index), who also serves as showrunner. The series is directed by Genji Keen (The Dungeon Run, Good Mythical Morning). Production of Tooned In for Nickelodeon is overseen by Ashley Kaplan, Senior Vice President, Digital Studios; Paul J Medford, Vice President, Unscripted Current Series; and Luke Wahl, Vice President, Digital Studios..

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posted 9/15/2021

TUESDAY: Finale Tuesday
Bachelor, AGT Tie
From TV Line

In the latest TV show ratings, ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise this Tuesday drew 3 million total viewers and a 0.9 rating, ticking up in the demo to tie NBC’s America’s Got Talent for the nightly demo win.

Leading out of that, Ultimate Surfer (1.3 mil/0.3) also ticked up week-to-week. NBC’s AGT (7.2 mil/0.9, predict Wednesday night’s winner) added some eyeballs and was steady in the demo week-to-week, utterly dominating Tuesday in total audience.

Over on Fox, LEGO Masters (1.4 mil/0.4) was steady with its Season 2 finale, while Fantasy Island (1.2 mil/0.3) ticked up in the demo ahead of this Sunday’s season finale. Pending adjustment due to sportsing preemptions, Stargirl (810K/0.1) and Supergirl (650K/0.1) are both currently in in audience/steady in the demo.

TV Line


posted 9/14/2021

SYNDIES: Week Zero
Results for the Week Ending September 5
From TV News Check

Only a handful of syndicated shows were able to overcome the powerful headwinds of Hurricane Ida, which caused numerous news preemptions and electrical failures in the pre-Labor Day session ending Sept. 5.

Turning to primetime access, Family Feud slipped 2% to a 5.5, but still topped the games. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy each inched up 5% to a 4.5 and a 4.1, respectively.

For the just-ended syndication season (Aug. 29), Feud led all of syndication with a 5.5, the first time Feud has won a syndicated season since local people meters debuted in 1986, Debmar-Mercury said. Feud also was tops among women 25-54 for the season with a 2.0.

In the household rating rankings that follow, % change is from the previous week; * indicates a new season-high rating; ** indicates a new season low; NC indicates no change from the previous week; NA mean not applicable.

- Family Feud (Debmar-Mercury/FMNA) 5.5 -2%
- Wheel of Fortune (CMV) 4.5 +5%
- Jeopardy (CMV) 4.1 +5%
- 25 Words or Less (Fox First Run) 0.8 NC
- Funny You Should Ask(Entertainment Studios) 0.5 NC

TV Newscheck

posted 9/15/2021

Welcome to Super Monday!
Premieres Abound
From the Futon Critic

The fall season is officially upon us, and with it comes an endless parade of new episodes of old favorites... and a new series as well.

- WHEEL OF FORTUNE: Pat Sajak and Vanna White, signed to 2024, will return for more Wheel of Fortune, but the game itself is getting something of a facelift. In addition to a new set, a new theme song, and a new baseline bonus ($39,000), the series will also expand its social media footprint, bringing on Maggie Sajak, Pat's daughter, as its social correspondent. The younger Sajak will be the "online host," a role which Today describes as "sharing exclusive videos, behind-the-scenes access, and interviews with the hosts, staff, crew, and contestants." She will also be responsible for the show's social media pages. Announcer Jim Thornton, who has been with the show for 10 years, will now have a podium on stage from which he will introduce Sajak and White. This makes him significantly more of a presence for the viewing audience. Even more significant: Sajak will no longer personally do the final spin of the wheel, with the duty instead going to the player who is in control of the wheel at the time. In addition, the Free Play space on the wheel will be removed and replaced by an $850 wedge, and a $4,000 bonus added to contestants who solve all three puzzles in the Triple Toss Up Round, making the round worth $10,000.
- JEOPARDY!: PErhaps the most notable difference between this year and last is the host. Mike Richards had taped a week's worth of shows before he stepped down as host and executive producer earlier this summer. Those show will air as produced. In addition, the show has dedicated Stage 11 at Sony Pictures Studios as The Alex Trebek Stage. In a brief pre-taped appearance that starts tonight’s episode, Trebek’s wife Jean and three children Matthew, Emily and Nicky are shown at the recent dedication and naming of the Alex Trebek Stage. Mayim Bialik, who is set to tape the Jeopardy! College Championship for ABC later this year, will step in at least for the interim beginning. It is reported that she has taped at least seven weeks worth of material. The show's iconic theme music also sees a refresh. But the main story... Matt Amodio, who has won as many fans as detractors with his play style, and with that, becoming the third-winningest player in monies behind only some guy named Ken Jennings and some other guy named James Holzhauer.
- THE PRICE IS RIGHT: The longest-running game show in television history is celebrating its 50th season this month and offering viewers a chance to, as always, “come on down” to win big. To celebrate its milestone, the show this week will feature a game each day where contestants can win up to $1 million. A two-hour primetime special will air Thursday, September 30. Premiere week will honor the lasting legacy with two new games, including a special limited edition game, “Back to ‘72,” that will only be played throughout the 50th season complete with a retro ‘70s look. In the game, contestants’ pricing skills will be tested on actual items that appeared on the show during the early years of its run on CBS.
- LET'S MAKE A DEAL: The season will include new themed days, three primetime specials, and plenty of celebrity guests starting with Drew Barrymore in the first episode. Each week will promise Mega Money Mondays and Fabulous Car Fridays.
- YOU BET YOUR LIFE WITH JAY LENO: “You Bet Your Life” first aired from 1950 to 1961 with famed comedian Groucho Marx, followed by a short-lived 1992 remake with Bill Cosby. In the new version, Leno shares host duties with Kevin Eubanks, the former “Tonight” band leader who'd gleefully rib the comedian when a joke fell flat. “People seem to like that camaraderie, because we are friends and we know each other,” Leno said.

Also on tap: the season finales of "American Ninja Warrior" and "Hell's Kitchen", and the season premieres of "Halloween Baking Championship" and "The Big Bake."

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posted 9/14/2021

YouTube/Larry King
Comedian Played "Millionaire", "Match Game"
From TV Line

Norm Macdonald, whose laconic delivery of sharp and incisive observations made him one of Saturday Night Live‘s most influential and beloved cast members, died today after a nine-year private battle with cancer. He was 61.

Macdonald’s death was announced to Deadline by his management firm Brillstein Entertainment. The comedian’s longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was with him when he died, said Macdonald had been battling cancer for nearly a decade but was determined to keep his health struggles private, away from family, friends and fans.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra said. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

He was an SNL cast member from 1993-98, making his greatest impact as the anchor of the show’s “Weekend Update” segments for three seasons. Remembered for his droll style — and for his refusal to go easy on O.J. Simpson despite reported pressure from NBC execs — Macdonald would prove one of the most impactful “Update” anchors, pivoting away from the slapstick approach of Chevy Chase and toward the more barbed political approach of his successor, Colin Quinn.

Born on October 17, 1959, in Quebec City, Macdonald started his show business career in the comedy clubs of Canada, developing the deadpan style that would become both his trademark and a highly influential touchstone for a generation of comics. After being a contestant on Star Search in 1990, he landed his first regular TV writing gig on The Dennis Miller Show, fronted by the man who anchored “Weekend Update” from 1986-91. Macdonald was hired to write for Roseanne Barr’s sitcom Roseanne for the 1992-93 season before landing the coveted gig at NBC’s Saturday Night Live.

Among his most popular SNL bits was a gum-chomping impression of Burt Reynolds, complete with charming smile, bolo tie and wiseguy attitude, often at hilarious odds with Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek. If his Reynolds was his best, other impressions were nearly on par: Macdonald’s roster included Andy Rooney, Clint Eastwood, David Letterman, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino, Mr. Bean and Rod Serling, among others.

Macdonald’s departure from the show was controversial in itself, and the firing was often attributed to his continued lambasting of Simpson as a murderer despite what was said to be the displeasure of Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC’s West Coast division, a friend of the former football great. Macdonald would later tell The New York Times that he believed his dismissal was the result of doing “experimental stuff, non sequiturs” on “Update,” saying, “Ohlmeyer would watch Leno kill every night for 15 minutes. Every joke, huge laughs, and then I’d do 10 minutes a week and sometimes not get laughs.”

After his firing, Macdonald’s career entered a gradual decline. He hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, insulting the show to boos from the cast. He starred in a short-lived sitcom, The Norm Show, and a buddy comedy with Howard Stern cohost Artie Lange, Dirty Work. Both received poor reviews but live on as cult classics. He showed up in commercials and on celebrity episodes of game shows, memorably winning $500,000 for charity on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (and walking away before the last question only because Regis Philbin encouraged him to). He also featured on "Celebrity Poker Showdown", "Match Game Canada", "Last Comic Standing", "High Stakes Poker", and "Million Dollar Password".

TV Line
The Wrap
City Journal

posted 9/14/2021

MONDAY: That's Still Football, Baby!
MNF Wins for ABC
From TV Line

In the latest TV ratings, ABC’s coverage of the Monday Night Football season opener averaged 7.4 million total viewers and a 1.7 demo rating, obviously dominating the night in both measures.

Fox’s two-hour (and unexpectedly emotional!) Hell’s Kitchen season finale (averaging 2.2 mil/0.5) and NBC’s American Ninja Warrior finale (3.4 mil/0.5) held steady and tied for (a very distant) second in the demo. Leading out of ANW, The Wall (2.1 mil/0.3) was also steady.

Placing second for the night in total audience was CBS’ The Neighborhood rerun, which drew 3.5 million viewers. Pending adjustment due to sports preemption, The CW’s Roswell NM (720K/0.1) is currently up in viewers and steady in the demo..

TV Line

posted 9/14/2021

SUNDAY: That's Football, Baby!
SNF Wins for NBC
From Deadline

As we discover far too often, history loves to repeat itself – in the NFL and otherwise. That was the case for Sunday Night Football’s season kickoff between the hometown Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears on NBC on September 12.

Sure, even with the Covid-19 Delta variant seemingly everywhere, there were actual fans in the seats at SoFi Stadium this year, unlike the season-opening SNF game in 2020. However, once again, the matchup was played in the City of Angels, once again the Rams won (34-14), and once again NBC took a viewership drubbing.

With the final numbers now in, the primetime NFL battle drew an audience of 17.6 million on NBC, according to Nielsen. That’s a slip of about 4% from the 2020 season opener and a new multi-year low for the network and league’s mothership show..


posted 9/14/2021

Adam Stosky to Lead New Company
From Deadline

Former E! president Adam Stotsky has been named president of MRC Live & Alternative. He replaces Amy Thurlow, who exited as president of Dick Clark Productions in June, and will report to MRC CEOs and co-founders Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu.

The dcp moniker will not be used going forward. The production company, launched in 1957 by Dick Clark, had been sold multiple times, and merged — along with several other media companies — with MRC in 2018 to form Valance Media. That company was rebranded as MRC in April 2020 with all of its divisions carrying the same name, including MRC Live & Alternative, which housed dick clark productions.

The transition from dcp to MRC Live & Alternative completes the rebranding process.

“We continue to celebrate Dick Clark’s legacy on our top-rated Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, and through his son R.A. Clark’s terrific work on the Academy of Country Music Awards, in our new home on Amazon; and we congratulate RAC on his newly launched company Lewis & Clark,” said Wiczyk and Satchu..



posted 9/14/2021

"Drag Race" Heads to Italy
Priscilla to Host
From EW

There's a new bella on the block, as RuPaul's Drag Race Italia has unveiled international superstar Priscilla as the host of its inaugural season.

Though she rose to prominence in her home region of Italy, the drag entertainer is widely known for her work in the Grecian nightlife metropolis of Mykonos, where she's a regular fixture at the JackieO' beach club.

She gained significant exposure as an entertainer when she competed on the 2017 edition of Ellada Eheis Talento, the Greek iteration of the global Got Talent series. On the show, she performed a lip-sync rendition of Ike and Tina Turner's cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival tune "Proud Mary."

Priscilla joins the Drag Race franchise as one of a handful of queens who've taken over for RuPaul at the helm of various international spin-offs of the Emmy-winning American original, including season 11 finalist Brooke Lynn Hytes on Canada's Drag Race, Supremme de Luxe on Drag Race España, and Drag Race Thailand cohosts Pangina Heals and Art Arya.


posted 9/14/2021

Charles Wachter Teams with All3Media
Hard North Media to Create Formats
From C21Media

The US arm of UK-based producer and distributor All3Media is partnering with showrunner and executive producer Charles Wachter to launch an unscripted-focused production outfit called Hard North Media. Charles Wachter The company plans to create and produce a range of unscripted content including formats, competition series, live events and gameshows.

Its goal is to “establishing Hard North Media as a multi-genre provider of premium content for US broadcast networks, streaming platforms, cable channels and digital,” according to All3Media America. Wachter has produced more than 35 TV projects, including Holey Moley and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for ABC, King of the Nerds for TBS and the rebooted Fear Factor for MTV.

Most recently, he was executive producer and showrunner on ABC’s The Celebrity Dating Game and YouTube’s Copy That. He also has pilots in development with Netflix and Canadian pubcaster the CBC.

“Charles is one of the most successful unscripted creators and showrunners in the business and joins us at a time when demand in this space has never been stronger,” said All3Media CEO Jane Turton. “His fantastic credentials and relationships with leading networks and platforms perfectly complement our core unscripted business in the US, and we are thrilled to have him join the All3Media family.”.

C21 Media

posted 9/14/2021

Tuesday Lightning Round
... or "Staying Up Late"

  • James Corden looking to stay up late later (Deadline)

  • Jacques Torres reveals the secret that keep folks from nailing it (The Wrap)

  • Peyton & Eli Manning are the only way to watch MNF (Sporting News)

posted 9/14/2021

RuPaul Makes Emmy History
Emmy for Outstanding Reality Host Gives "Drag Race" Host a Tie for Most Wins from an African American Performer
From Deadline

RuPaul has taken home his sixth straight Emmy win for Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Competition Program. It puts him in the same position as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who broke the Emmy record by winning the best actress in a comedy award six times in a row for her role in Veep.

The win also sees RuPaul Charles tie the record for the most Emmy wins by a person of color with cinematographer Donald A. Morgan. If RuPaul wins at next week’s Emmys for Outstanding Competition Program for Drag Race, he will break the record.

The host of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race thanked all of the people in the business who have been “kind” in his acceptance speech, recalling his role hosting The American Music Show, which started in 1981.

"I started in television 40 years ago on a public access station in Atlanta, Georgia. A little show called The American Music Show. They were so kind to me to have me do my hard yards there years ago, and I want to thank them for being so kind to me and all the people in this business who’ve been kind. I’ve got to tell you, the sweetness and the kindness is what I appreciate the most today. In fact, the sweetness and the kindness are at the top of my list of human virtues. After that would be a big fat ass. Thank you so much for this award,” he said.

RuPaul beat Nailed It! host Nicole Byer, who was thought to have a chance in this category, the Queer Eye team of Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness, Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary, and Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.

RuPaul has won this award every year since 2016, with Jane Lynch, host of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night winning in 2015 and 2014.

The World of Wonder-produced show won five awards on the day, also picking up awards for Outstanding Casting For A Reality Program with Goloka Bolte, and Ethan Petersen, and Outstanding Directing For A Reality Program with Nick Murray, and Outstanding Picture Editing For A Structured Reality Or Competition Program with Jamie Martin, Paul Cross, Ryan Mallick, and Michael Roha and Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program for spinoff RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked.

The Wrap
TV Insider
Entertainment Weekly

posted 9/13/2021

USA's "Big Deal"
Catch It October 14
From the Futon Critic

See the American dream in action on USA Network's new LIVE competition series "America's Big Deal" from world-renowned inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano. With a mission to lift up America's greatest small businesses and inventors, this groundbreaking first-of-its-kind series invites entrepreneurs from across the country to sell their products live on-air to home viewers through One Platform Commerce @ NBCU.

Each week entrepreneurs will take the stage for a three-minute product pitch and the person with the most live sales throughout the episode will win the chance to strike a life-changing deal with one of the show's retail giants.

Premiering Thursday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network, "America's Big Deal" will be hosted by Emmy Award-nominated "Access Hollywood" journalist Scott Evans and will empower audiences to shop live using ShoppableTV and NBCUniversal Checkout to turn entrepreneurs' dreams into reality.

In each episode of "America's Big Deal," the at-home audience will meet four budding entrepreneurs who, after facing a challenging year for small businesses, are eager to sell their ingenious, ready-made products live in primetime via One Platform Commerce @ NBCU. Knowing a big purchase order is on the line for the entrepreneur who makes the most live sales, these inventors will prepare bold and innovative product pitches unlike anything seen before in the traditional television shopping landscape. By purchasing their favorite products each week, viewers will take an active role in deciding which entrepreneur will win the night and stand before the panel of retail titans to field what will be life changing deals.

At the top of each episode, viewers will be prompted to participate in the upcoming shoppable competition experience in three easy steps: first, scan the ShoppableTV code that appears on-screen, shop your favorite products, and then complete your purchase seamlessly with NBCUniversal Checkout.

The series' executive producers are DIGA Studios' Tony DiSanto, Nick Rigg, Shawn Strickland and showrunner Alison Holloway. Joy Mangano also serves as executive producer.

The Futon Critic
The Wrap
TV Insider

posted 9/13/2021

"Masked Singer" Takes It Off
Season 6 Introduces a New Twist
From Entertainment Weekly

It's hard to believe, but things are about to get even more chaotic on The Masked Singer stage. EW can exclusively reveal a new twist for the show's upcoming sixth season: the Take It Off Buzzer. If one of the panelists is completely certain they know who a contestant is, they can hit the buzzer at any time during the competition and give the name. If they are correct, that contestant has to unmask immediately and will leave the competition right then and there, and the panelist who guessed correctly gets two points toward the Golden Ear Trophy. But the stakes are high — if they are wrong, the contestant remains masked and the panelist will lose two points towards the Golden Ear Trophy.

The new buzzer can only be used once in Group A and once in Group B, meaning not every panelist will get a shot at using the buzzer.

"The whole idea to introduce this is just to add spontaneity. Our panel keeps saying, 'I know who it is,' but we wanted to put them to the test," executive producer Craig Plestis tells EW. "So the Take It Off Buzzer can be used any time in the show, anytime. As long as that contestant's on the stage, and [the panelist] thinks they know who that person is, they can hit that buzzer." He also teases that, in addition to losing two points, there will also be an additional penalty if the buzzer is used and an incorrect guess is made, but he won't say what that is just yet. "It's something that is absolutely humiliating," he teases.

According to showrunner James Breen, the twist makes for some very shocking moments in season 6. "It's a very fun addition this season, and very dramatic on a couple of occasions," he says, with Plestis adding that it took all of the panelists "by surprise." So, if a panelist uses the buzzer and gets it right and sends someone home unexpectedly, is there still a normal elimination, meaning there'd hypothetically be two eliminations in one night? "Possibly. Yeah, anything can happen on The Masked Singer. There's no rules," says Plestis.

The Masked Singer returns for its sixth season on Fox with a special two-night premiere on Sept. 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. And before that, fans will get a 30-minute sneak peek at the new season — including the final costume reveal — live across all time zones at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, after the FOX NFL Sunday double-header on Sept. 12.

Entertainment Weekly

The Wrap
Gold Derby

posted 9/13/2021

Monday Lightning Round
... or "Double Standard and Selective Outrage"

posted 9/13/2021

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